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Getting Started with Content Marketing – The 5-yard Out Pattern

I was speaking with a customer this afternoon and the topic of getting started came up. They have a number of priorities pulling them in various directions. They know content marketing is critical to their long-term customer acquisition. But they also know the ROI won’t be obvious for months from their efforts.


It brought to light a basic tenant we all face in this world.


Content marketing is hard.


And there are a lot of reasons why it’s difficult. However, we all know the benefits of content marketing. The more content you create for your target customers, the more relevant it is to their day-to-day and the problems they are trying to solve, then the more engagement you’ll get when those customers visit your website.


More engagement from your website visitors equals better metrics for Google’s algorithm. It contributes positively to lowering your bounce rate. It helps increase average session time per user and average page views per session.


You may not be fully aware of what those metrics are or where they reside within Google Analytics, but rest assured, they are important metrics when it comes to your SEO rankings.


But how do you get started? Let’s look at an analogy.


The College Football Equivalent of Getting Started with Content Marketing


I’m a big fan of college football. One of the most exciting parts of a college football game is the last two minutes of the game when your team is down, and they need a big drive to kick a game-winning field goal.


BT Potter kicks a game winning field goal for Clemson


If you ask any football coach, they will tell you that establishing a rhythm quickly is very important to the 2-minute drive. The pressure is on. Your team is behind, and you have to drive 50 yards to have a chance of making a field goal.


Coaches help the quarterbacks and receivers establish this rhythm by completing a short pass, for example, a 5-yard out pattern. This builds confidence for the offense, it creates momentum, and it puts the wheels in motion for the drive.


How to Start Marketing Your Business


Creating momentum with your content marketing strategy is very similar to getting that first 5-yard out pattern completed. You want to create some momentum. But your mind may be set on a 3,500-word blog post that explains a critical concept to your business in intimate detail.


The problem with a 3,500-word blog idea is that you actually have to WRITE 3,500 words. That takes a long time. 


You procrastinate. You delay. You prioritize other things. You start looking at content marketing tools. You investigate the latest and greatest types of content marketing.


You plan out your content strategy for the next two months on your favorite content marketing platforms. Maybe you get your Google sheet created instead and read 5 articles on content marketing for startups.


What you haven’t done is actually write an article. Because you know it’s going to take you 10 hours to write 3,500 words. You’re going to need to spend another hour doing keyword research. And you’ll probably need product managers and others to sign off on the content because of the depth you’ve gone into the topic.


Here’s my advice. Throw the 5-yard out!



The Quick, Easy Win


There are a huge number of types of marketing content. But the very best type of content? That’s easy. It’s the published content.


The content that isn’t sitting in a Google Doc somewhere or stuck in your head as a bunch of ideas.


As they say in sports, the best ability is availability. And the content marketing equivalent of that is actually publishing your content and doing it regularly.


The best ability is availability.


So pick a topic to write about. Think about something your potential customers will find interesting. Write 250 or 500 words about it in 45 minutes instead of 10 hours.


And then, do something crazy! Publish the article.


Google loves new content and sometimes, you’re your own worst enemy with planning.


Don’t paralyze yourself with analysis.


Throw the 5-yard out.


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